Ah, Mother Nature. She does play some odd and amusing tricks on us. Clouds can look like the face of Santa, or stones can appear to have the image of Christ. It’s all happenstance, of course, these unusual occurrences in the natural world, but they bring a smile – and sometimes cold, hard cash – to those lucky enough to stumble across them.
Some are fleeting, like clouds, which change shape and morph into other images. But sometimes these tricks of the natural world stick around, and that brings joy to anyone fortunate enough come upon them.
Take the example of Mike Bowers, for instance, a rock collector in California. Thanks to a gemologist in Brazil, Lucas Fassari, Bowers is now the proud owner of a remarkable piece of agate, which is a type of quartz, found in Soledade.
When the rock was split in two, the spitting image of – lo and behold – the Cookie Monster was there, plain as day, big grin in geological splendour. The cast mainstay of the children’s television program Sesame Street, which has been on for decades, is an instantly recognizable favourite among audiences, and a pop culture icon, to boot.
When Bowers saw the agate’s image, he couldn’t get over how precise the mirror image of the character was – both sides look a whole lot like the cookie consumer’s grinning visage.
The cookie monster has been part of Sesame Street since the beginning, first appearing in 1969 when he was voiced by the show’s forerunner, Frank Oz. These days, like so many figures aimed at young viewers on television, the character has been modified to be more in keeping with 21st century morals and values; he says (on TV) that cookies are a “sometimes food,” and he no longer urges kids to consume them non-stop. Even the cookie monster had to grow and change with the times.
The agate came to Bowers in November of 2020, but he didn’t post news and pictures about it until January, 2021. Like so many others in California, he was recovering from COVID-19 during those months.
But Bowers is better now, and is delighted with this new addition to his rock collection. The item even earned a shout out from the cookie monster’s Twitter feed, which said, “Me no geologist but me think dat rock looks a lot like me…” (The cookie monster’s grammar and spelling clearly need some work!) The agate also got a salute from the actor who voices the character these days.
Although the cookie monster agate is quite rare, there are other examples of rocks, stones and boulders that are greatly prized, either for their historic significance or their status in a country’s myths. One example is Plymouth Rock, which is, legend says, the first thing touched by the pilgrims when they descended from the Mayflower onto the soil of the New World.
Another example, even more ancient, is Ireland’s Blarney Stone, which is housed near a castle not far from County Cork.
In this case, legend says that kissing the stone – limestone, actually – gives one the “gift of the gab,” the ability to wow folks with one’s talent for talk on just about any topic. The stone is now kept away from visitors, who can see it on the castle grounds but no longer actually touch it, (that’s true of Plymouth Rock, as well) as too many people have taken small bits away over the generations, diminishing their size considerably.
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Bowers hasn’t decided whether he will sell the cookie monster agate, and says that, for now, he is simply enjoying owning it. “It’s somewhat uncommon to find a face shape in agate,” he explained recently to Live Science, “… (and) what makes this unique is there is just no doubt… it is the cookie monster, no explanation required.”